Aha!

This pilot fish is responsible for the firewall, so it makes sense when his supervisor asks if fish has stopped any Internet traffic going to a particular workstation.

No, says fish. Supervisor then tells him to find out why this tech is having problems downloading software for the workstation he's building.

"I asked the tech about the problem and was told that everything was going OK, but the download had not completed when he came back from lunch," reports fish.

"I went to check the firewall. No problems found.

"I received email instructing me to configure the firewall so the workstation tech's admin account can surf the Internet. I had to scratch my head because that function is controlled by Group Policy, not the firewall."

Besides, as fish quickly reconfirms, the workstation tech isn't having any problems surfing the Internet. Fish watches as tech starts downloading the software update again -- and everything seems to be working fine.

An hour later, fish returns to ask the tech whether the download completed successfully.

Tech tells fish that everything was going fine again until he went downstairs to stage some equipment -- and when he came back, the download had stopped.

"I asked him if the workstation was XP or part of the new Windows 7 rollout," says fish. "Win7, tech said with a smile.

"I asked tech if the workstation could have gone into hibernation. Insert picture of deer-in-headlights here. The tech said, 'The screen didn't come up by just moving the mouse -- I had to push the power button to wake it up...'"

You don't want to see a Shark in your headlights, do you? Help keep the Shark Tank well stocked by sending me your true tale of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll snag a snazzy Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

The Best of Shark Tank includes more than 70 tales of IT woe submitted by you, our readers, since 1999. Which all goes to prove, conclusively, that hapless users and idiotic bosses are indeed worldwide phenomena. Free registration is all that's needed to download The Best of Shark Tank (PDF).

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